Malkin not on trade block


A quick update for dear readers, especially the hundreds that have questioned my sanity (among other things) after reading this analysis:

I’m told the Penguins are not entertaining the possibility of trading C EVGENI MALKIN, the 2009 NHL scoring champion and playoff MVP and, with a $8.7 million salary-cap hit, the franchise’s co-highest paid player.

GM RAY SHERO, whose mother passed last weekend, is committed to the nucleus that has helped steer the Penguins to two Stanley Cup Final series and one Cup win in its four years together. That nucleus is Malkin, Cs SIDNEY CROSBY and JORDAN STAAL, and G MARC-ANDRE FLEURY. I’m told those players will be with the Penguins next season, and a quick reminder that their combined cap hit will be $26.4 million.

So, it looks set that Malkin is staying and the so-called Four Horsemen will ride during the first season at Consol Energy Center. Given their collective success that is probably the wise move, and it certainly fits with the patient leanings of Shero, who can count keeping his core together at a combined rate lower than perceived market value as perhaps his second greatest achievement during this tenure.

The Penguins have three years with their core at $26.4 million total. The Capitals are committed to about $27.6 million next season for LWs ALEX OVECHKIN and ALEXANDER SEMIN, C NICKLAS BACKSTROM, and D MIKE GREEN. Semin will play in the final year of his contract, and Semin has only two years remaining.

Oh, and the Capitals will eventually have to pay G SIMEON VARLAMOV, who is in the final year of his deal.

I was going to save this next nugget, but Malkin told me last Friday at getaway day that he hoped rumors of his possible departure weren’t true.

“Here is where I want to play,” he said of Pittsburgh. “Fans are good. Teammates and coaches are great. We can win again. This was just one (disappointing) year.”

— BY ROB ROSSI (5/20)